The first thing that came off was the fucking humongous winter coat. Man, he hated that thing; it made him feel like some kind of giant balloon trying to move around. A shiver sped up his back as he shoved it to the side, his skin meeting with the chill air that'd accompanied him inside. Sanji rubbed his hands together, scowling a bit before unwrapping his scarf.
It was already terribly late, more so than he'd hoped when he arrived home on Christmas Eve. Not like he had anyone to exactly rush home to spend festivities with, considering anyone he knew was still working overtime at the restaurant. He sighed, pulling his shoes off and tossing them by the door. Now that he was free from both work and his god awful winter wear, he was finally alone.
The blonde looked past the entry way of his apartment. Alone. Damn, he'd unintentionally gone and made himself sad again. But that was fine, Sanji was used to being alone, he'd been alone growing up and except for a few numbers he'd luckily gotten on spare occasions, sans the one's that only sent him to rejection hotlines, there really wasn't anyone else to talk to. Well, be it as it may, he hadn't planned to sit and sulk this evening.
The cook made his way to the kitchen and to his lovely fridge. He'd eaten at work, like he always did when the nights got too long, so for once he wasn't really in the mood to cook. No, instead he went straight for his nice wine, grabbing a glass from the cabinet along with it before heading to his living room to sit and read by the heater.
It wasn't until Sanji had sat back into the love seat, pouring himself a drink in the glass that he finally noticed something off about the room, his sights zeroing in on the colorful box on his coffee table. He couldn't help but tilt his head to the side, studying over its brightly colored paper and ribbon. A gift? For him? Who the fuck had come into his house and left him a Christmas gift?
His first reaction would have normally been to freak out and check the doors and windows. For all he knew, this was just some sort of trap and there could be an explosion tied to the top of that box that would blow up the entire neighborhood if he opened it. But for the oddest reason, that didn't seem to concern him at all.
"What the hell..." He whispered as he moved to the edge of his seat and reached out.
He took the box, decorated in it's holiday red and greens, and shook it lightly in his hands. It wasn't really making a sound from what he could tell, bombs would right? Seemingly satisfied that whatever was inside hadn't already gone off like in his suspicion, Sanji set the box back down in his lap.
There wasn't a tag or a card so he really didn't know who it was from. Just in case, he carefully pulled the bow free by it's ribbon so that he could lift the top and glance inside. Inside the box was velvet fabric, filled to the top to keep its contents nuzzled safely in the middle. Sanji's eyebrow raised and he reached out to the small figure settled at the top, brushing his finger across its face softly.
Its hair was painted an odd shade of green and it had the most angry scowl drawn on its face. Sanji might have found it a little cute if it wasn't so weird looking and out of place. Experimentally, he put the tip of his finger in between the painted teeth of its mouth, where nuts were supposed to be cracked. What an unusual gift to randomly find in his home.
Still holding it gently in his hands, he looked down at the box, taking a handful of the fabric and lifting it out just to see if anything else was inside. He sighed, though, glancing back at the toy when he realized it was just one among many old ones. And broken?
"Ah, you've been through quite a bit of shit, haven't you?" He continued, using the freedom of owning his own place to talk to an inanimate object like they were real.
He cautiously grabbed its broken arm, hanging loosely and unhinged at the side between his fingers, twisting it lightly.
"Unfortunately for you..." He continued on, pausing only to try and think of a name for it, something he still did like a child but again didn't give a damn about. His eyes looked back to that unique green hair. Maybe he was an elf?
"Unfortunately for you Marimo, I don't have any nuts for you to crack and..." He lowered his voice along with his hand, moving to roll the nut cracker back into the package it arrived in.
"I don't have any use for toys. Sorry."
Sanji stared at the blush painted on the nut cracker's cheeks a moment more before moving the top of the box back. Then the cook turned back to his glass of wine, picking it up and heading for the bedroom. After having a silent conversation with a Nutcracker, not even a fucking action figure mind you, he reckoned he might as well just go straight to sleep. Tomorrow was an even bigger day, after all.
Sanji had been in the middle of a nice warm dream, where he had been tucked away between two gorgeous big racked women in a hot tub. The perfect image shattered however as he strained his face, groaning at the sound of tiny voices and movement in his apartment. Had he left the TV on? Wait, did he have a TV? His body was shivering and he felt around in the dark, unable to find his blanket anywhere within reach... Nor the end of his bed... Why wasn't he wearing any clothes?!
Sanji's eyes flew open and grew wide as he gazed down the length of his bed. What was going on here? Was he still dreaming? It was huge, like a fucking football field! He gazed down where his comforter lay wrinkled like a sea of fabric, the top of his shirt he'd gone to bed in peeking out. It reminded him of his current condition as he looked down at himself.
He'd shrunk? What kind of Alice in Wonderland shit was this? He didn't remember drinking anything. Not to mention, if his pajamas didn't shrink with him, how come it was only his boxers that decided to do so? Pushing off such suspicions for now he hurriedly got up, nearly losing his balance on the soft exterior of the pillow he stood on. His heart was racing.
Holy shit, he was no bigger than a few inches high! The fuck! Why? He was freaking out! Hugging his arms tight he began to look around his room, soft mutterings of 'this isn't happening, this is a dream' stereotypically leaving his lips. The blonde was only pulled out of it when he heard another batch of loud squeaking, coming from the side of the bed. The noise that had woken him up.
He was brave even in his new size, this was his fucking apartment after all. He cautiously jumped down from his pillow and began walking towards the edge of the bed. The noises became louder and clearer. They were voices.
"Charge the bed!"
"The bedroom will be ours!"
Sanji nearly shat bricks. There were rodents, gross, sick, disgusting, rodents in his house, climbing up the side of his bed. No, make that sides, as the blonde tried to turn around and flee the other way only to watch as their snouts peered over and they helped themselves up with their claws, which were much more intimidating when Sanji was closer in size. He was definitely not proud of the sound that escaped his lips. What the actual fuck?!
To add to the already strange events, they weren't even normal mice. They looked far more ruthless and wore costumes, actual tiny effin' uniforms like an army. And yet here was Sanji in his boxers. The vermin grinned, coming in much closer than was comfortable and circling in on him.
"This ain't the nutcracker! Who's he supposed to be?" One asked, looking over towards the other mice men who were just as confused.
"He's only wearing his drawers!" Another one cackled. "Just take him down!"
Sanji began shifting his feet back on his sheet, edging back towards his pillow until he was leaning against it, staring wide eyed at those circling in on him.
"O-oi! Wait a minute you shitty rodents!" He shouted in defense, though it only seemed to piss them off more.
Whatever, he could take this, as he stood up straighter. He hadn't trained in kenpo for years to get beaten up like this, in his own house, on his own bed! However a yell from behind the crowd had the army of vermin growing silent, moving out of the way as one rat, darker than the others and wearing a jeweled crown made his way through. He grinned wickedly once he was at the front and had a good look down at the blonde.
"Ah, I see..." He smirked, drawing his tiny sword. "You don't recognize him? This is the one who thinks he rules this land. The apartment owner!"
"The hell are you going on about, shit head!? This is my apartment! Scat!" Sanji snapped, which apparently wasn't the best thing to do.
The rodents hissed through their teeth and the mouse king narrowed his eyes.
Not one of them seemed to protest the order, springing into action towards the cook. Sanji's heart sunk, his eyes darting around at the overwhelming crowd. Shit! What was he supposed to do now? He couldn't exactly fight them off when he was out numbered and they were coming from both sides. He put most of his weight on his right foot, standing his ground. Well he wasn't going out without a fight, dammit! He watched as the king was closest to him, raising his sword... He wouldn't get to though, as a yell boomed out across the room.
"Move out the way!"
Sanji looked to his left and to his right. Who had said that? Even his enemies had paused, their heads rising high as they looked behind toward the end of the bed. All of their eyes widened, their jaws dropping as they watched a tissue box somehow shoot up into the air, several what appeared to be toys on its back, holding on for dear life.
Its destination was unclear, as it soared over him and he witnessed as the figures jumped and fled their makeshift aircraft as it went to collide with the headboard of his bed. The figures fell among the crowd, weapons drawn. Sanji let out a yelp in surprise the moment blade came into contact with blade in front of his face and he was saved.
Someone had stopped the mouse king from beheading him. He stared confused as his savior forced the sword down, making the Mouse King stumble back among his men. Without even realizing how much time had really passed, in only seconds the army had to fall back, the rescue toys fighting and proving to be quite up to the challenge.
"Fuck off, Mouse King." A voice to Sanji's side, the voice of his hero, growled.
Sanji dared to let his eyes sneak to the side for a look, watching as the soldier lowered his sword.
Only, it wasn't technically a soldier at all. He was wearing the most retarded hat Sanji had ever seen and a costume embroidered with fancy swirls and giant buttons. He recognized this mystery man, but he really wished he hadn't. It might have given him a possible reason why he was delusional, or drunk.
It was the Nutcracker he'd found in the packaged box on his table. It had to be, as his eyes traced his bulky wooden body now, his arm was broken at the shoulder just like the toy. He'd put his finger in that mouth?!
The mouse King was falling back. It seemed he was more intimated by the wooden man than it once appeared.
"Roronoa..." He hissed again. "It's good to see you're still wooden. Arm still bothering you?"
Roronoa, as the mouse had called him, didn't seem phased by his words. Though that could be because of the way his mouth worked and his annoyed expression was painted on. He raised his hand though, aiming the tip of his blade at his enemy. He must have been extremely determined to get this over fast.
They were distracted by a small shrill as a tiny stuffed reindeer, made out of some kind of wooly material, escaped from the ongoing battle.
"Zoro! Zoro! The reinforcements are coming!" It cried in its little voice.
The Mouse King seemed most surprised at this, glaring over at the nut cracker.
"Planned to ambush us did you? You wish!" Then he turned, raising his weapon and announcing at the top of his lungs. "Fall back! Fall back to the kitchen!"
His soldiers yelled out in agreement to let him know he'd been heard before they scattered like rodents do, fleeing off the sides of the bedding.
Suddenly Sanji felt his legs could move again. Fall back to the kitchen? The fuck! They were in his kitchen?! Without really thinking, he began running.
"Stay the fuck out of my kitchen, you furry little shits!" He snapped, anger boiling through him.
The Nutcracker stopped him however, holding out his good arm. Sanji glowered at it, before turning to look at the toy's stupid block head. It was creepy and unusual to be staring up at a life sized nutcracker. Though, was it really life sized or was he just really that small now?
"You can't let him get at my kitchen! That's my kitchen, you bastard! Do you know what it does to a cook when his kitchen's been invested?!"
The nutcracker seemed to purposely be avoiding him, turning his face slightly to the side and sheathing his weapon with his good arm.
"Makes you a shit cook, doesn't it?" he snorted.
Sanji scowled. Oh hell no, he knew this fucking toy hadn't just called him a shit cook, had he? Before he could kick and give him a piece of his mind though, the enemy had cleared and those who had dropped alongside the Nutcracker were approaching. This included a stunning and life like ballerina with magnificent orange curls. The cook had to wipe away his drool before straightening up.
Of course, until his face went a scarlet red, realizing he was still only in his boxers... He tried to hide behind the bulk of the Nutcracker, but unfortunately for him the asshole was already moving, strolling to the reindeer and ruffling his fur in thanks.
Sanji was having an internal battle with himself about whether or not to swoon at the ballerina, regardless of his lack of clothing. Finally, as they approached and his blush just continued to deepen, he reached forward towards the sheet below him to lift it up in hopes of covering himself. The body of one of the defeated mice stopped him though as it rolled and landed at his feet, still wearing its uniform.
The blond gazed up a little in confusion, not knowing why the Nutcracker was rolling mice at him after being so rude before, until of course he gestured by straightening his uniform's collar. He was telling him to change clothes then if it bothered him so much. A tad bit more thankful than he had been a few moments ago the blonde complied, undressing the filthy mouse, hissing at the fact he'd be wearing a mouse's clothes, before putting them on. They fit, surprisingly, like magic. Go figure.
He glanced over at where the crowd of toys, ranging from a huge clockwork soldier to an actual gingerbread man, had gathered past him around the tissue box and where it had fallen. They were talking hushly between themselves and gesturing to Sanji for a little while, making Sanji suspicious as he approached, holding his arms tightly to himself because he felt fucking silly in these clothes. It was only when he did get closer that he realized certain weird modifications they'd done to just his simple tissue box to actually make it fly.
"So uh, damn, I think this thing is broken." The clockwork soldier sighed, hitting the side of the tissue box and listening to it echo in improvisation, away from whatever they were talking about before now that Sanji was there.
A tiny raven figure, which was perched on his shoulder, ruffled her black feathers. "It's a shame; it had been so useful only moments ago."
The Ballerina groaned, leaning over the edge of the box to look inside, her arms reaching and grabbing onto something tight.
"Here, help me get Usopp out of here." She asked the nearest person to her, which looked to be a skeletal figure carved out of wood. Well that didn't seem Christmas themed at all.
Sanji approached from beside the Nutcracker, watching as they worked as a team to lift up what he could recognize to be as an old jack in the box. What was this, the island of misfit toys? Oh wait, that was a different Holiday Tale.
The clockwork soldier took a step back and began to circle around, gazing at things in the room.
"I can't even tell what half of the stuff is in here! It's SUPER!"
Sanji raised his eyebrow, watching where he stared, which was currently at his alarm clock. The bird only hummed slightly in amusement.
"How interesting, a future clock."
"You guys have never seen any of this before? Who are you? No wait, what are you? Toys?" Sanji had to ruin their moment of awe.
The Nutcracker next to him grunted. He'd been holding onto his arm with his free one, trying somehow to settle it back into place. The Ballerina rolled her eyes at him.
"It doesn't really matter who we are. This is your house right? We're sorry for barging in, we shouldn't take long." She giggled at the sight of Sanji melting, showing that her special charm was still working. "We've just got to defeat the mouse king and we'll be out of your hair. Promise."
Sanji looked back to the Nutcracker. He wasn't sure why exactly, but there was something about him that the blonde was drawn to in some strange way. Maybe it was because he had saved his life from the mouse king?
"I'm going on ahead. I don't want him to be able to completely regroup once he's found out our lie. You guys stick to the plan." The Nutcracker announced, turning on his heel and heading for the edge of the bed.
Not one of his friends, who Sanji supposed was his 'army', seemed to argue.
"Oi wait. I'm coming with you." He decided, glaring at the wooden toy and rushing after him. "That's my kitchen and I don't want you touching anything in it. Besides, if I kill that mouse king or whatever, I'll turn back my normal size right?"
"If you could kill the mouse king." Roronoa snorted, bending down and grabbing the edge of the blanket to descend to the floor.
"I'm pretty sure that I could and if not, you can handle it, right block head?"
There was a hiss in response and the Nutcracker hesitated. "Interesting coming from the guy who said he hadn't a use for toys."
For some reason the toys words had stung Sanji more than they should have. Was the Nutcracker really upset about something he had said then, when the situation was a little different? Sanji scowled more, taking a deep breath. Then he also grabbed onto his blanket and at the count of three, they both slid their way down. Now all they had to do was go toward his kitchen.
Sanji wasn't exactly sure of the plan. It seemed kind of stupid to him, that the Nutcracker would advance first and ask the mouse King for their one on one duel alone. When they had left the bedroom through the door, after he had to literally yank the Nutcracker in the right direction to where they were headed, the other toys hadn't begun to follow. But their purpose were to show up should any kind of vermin try and break the rules.
When they did finally reach the kitchen though, Sanji wanted to hurl. There were mice everywhere, on his counters, over his fridge, on the table. It was filthy and it was burning at his insides. To his surprise, the guards hanging in the doorway actually allowed them to approach and state their business. The Nutcracker, still holding protectively on to his other broken arm, stated his purpose smoothly. His final battle with that bastard.
It made Sanji snort. Really, they were all acting so seriously when his brain just couldn't let go of the fact this was toys against mice. TOYS AND MICE. To add onto that, the guards seemed to have already been expecting that answer and let them in. A pathway through the crowd suddenly emerged, allowing them access. Sanji's eye widened a bit but he just cleared his throat, following the Nutcracker silently, listening as he squeaked how he walked. How old was this toy anyway? Oh well it didn't matter he just needed that king and his mousy friends out of his fucking apartment.
The mouse King had made himself a makeshift throne out of utensils in the middle of the tile floor, sitting upon it with a smug grin he didn't deserve. Sanji narrowed his eyes, slipping his hands into his pockets, whispering under his breath for someone to please remind him to throw it all out after wards. Nothing here was left to be salvaged. The mouse king finally motioned off his more personal guards before getting up from his seat, his tail swaying behind him as he unsheathed his sword.
The Nutcracker recognized this motion, releasing his injury and moving to his own sword. He turned his face just slightly, glancing at Sanji.
"Just stay back and try not to get hurt, yeah shit cook?"
He couldn't tell from his expression but he knew the fucker was harassing him. But still, whatever, he'd only come in if he really needed to, so he stepped back to where he thought they had enough room but still where he wasn't yet mingling in with the wrong crowd. Before either swordsman could begin, a tiny door mouse ran up and to the king, gesturing for his ear to inform him of a certain unknown, then flee away.
"Roronoa, it would seem your friends have also arrived. But I have yet to see these reinforcements you spoke of. That was a clever play."
Roronoa just let out a huff, beginning to side step around so that they were both circling in the open space. Sanji held his breath. He'd never seen toys or mice move so fast when the Mouse King dove forward with his weapon drawn to strike first. It met with the Marimo's blade, who although Sanji might have been favoring, seemed to be moving faster.
The constant dodges had the mouse King sliding back on his hind legs, cursing and barking demands for another sword. He was going to do this dual handed. But even so, with Roronoa's broken arm and single sword, he seemed to be no match. But it was starting to drag on until finally, with their faces inches apart as the King's blades pressed hard into the Nutcracker's, he made his demand.
"Attack on his allies!"
It was enough of a surprise that the nutcracker stumbled back slightly, a gash breaking the wood of his face and across his eye. Sanji's heart sunk. Sure he was made of wood, but for some reason it looked so painful, fuck he felt like he had felt that, just from purely imagining it.
"Roro-" He began to call the toy by the only name he knew it by, until a mouse grunt knocked him down.
The cook was athletic though, thank god. Having landed on his hands he lifted himself up and turned until he was back on his feet. He playfully huffed to move his bang out of his face. Alright, he could do this. It'd been forever since he got a good spar in, mice shouldn't be anything.
He also felt entitled to fight on the toy's side for some reason. They weren't trying to take over his house. They had their own agenda, the one they talked about quietly where he couldn't overhear, and their objective was the same if defeating the mouse King would turn him back. In the corner of his eye he could see some of them struggling, including the odd jack in the box.
Secretly inside his head he just willed them to wait a little longer then he would help as soon as he could. His bare feet, since the mice soldiers weren't exactly wearing shoes he could borrow, collided with their skulls, producing cracks the blonde had never heard before. It was empowering and exciting, bringing back a joy into his life he hadn't experienced in years. He had gotten so caught into it that it was only when the Ballerina shrieked from her place in the crowd with a name he didn't yet have a face to, 'Zoro', that Sanji instinctively jerked his head to the side.
It was the Nutcracker, cornered against a wall, down on the ground with even more cuts engraved into his body, including a larger one across his chest. His good arm was shaking, his sword about to drop any minute. Sanji didn't even think it over. He didn't know why there was so much urgency but he had to be there.
He raced through anyone in his way, shoving them off, not even focusing to listen to the swordsman's last resolve that he wasn't going to give up and that this wasn't the end, even if it took battling the Mouse King for more years to come. The rodent laughed and raised his sword, as if to give the final blow. But Sanji wasn't going to have that. This was his house they were infesting and that fucker that came in the stupid mystery box on his table... was his Nutcracker!
"Find your own nutcracker you shitty rat!" He yelled, jumping into the air and swinging his foot inward for the blow.
The vermin dared to turn and look, only to meet Sanji's fury straight to the face. The ball of disgusting fur was sent flying back into his own men to be forgotten. The Nutcracker was staring, his hinged jaw open wide.
He had known the blonde would be able to defeat the mouse King, it was destiny, but he couldn't help but be a little impressed. He only knew that Sanji was a chef, not a fighter, his imagination had left him with some very interesting imaginary scenarios involving frying pans, but now he was only slightly bummed.
"Sanji..." The name fell from his throat when he closed his jaw.
Sanji's face softened, the fact the toy knew his name not even crossing his mind. He hurried over to him, lightly pushing him back against the wall. His hands traced over his damaged and engraved wood.
"You fucking idiot what the hell did you think you were doing, huh? Did you want to get cut in half? How the fuck did a mouse get something so sharp I don't even..." Sanji trailed off into nervous rambling, a defense mechanism disguising his worry.
Without even thinking, he wrapped his arms around his nutcracker tight and held him close, closing his eyes. It wasn't until moments later when there was warmth at his chest, did he open them, pulling himself back in great surprise, as a hand pushed him away, a real hand.
The Nutcracker was no longer a Nutcracker. He was a man, a nicely built man too if Sanji's reddening cheeks could say, with unusual Marimo hair. There was a scar down his eye and one at his chest, ripping open the foolish soldier costume he still wore. But for the first time, with his normal face now, Sanji could see emotion. Roronoa wasn't in pain, he was surprised just as well and... if Sanji could look past the scowl, happy?
Sanji was still baffled when he realized they were back to normal size, his eyes going back to his body then to Roronoa's. He was shocked to be back to normal, as weird as that sounded. He didn't even notice that seven more people were also in the room, dressed like their toy counterparts, not a rat in sight. The Ballerina squealed in joy, stretching out her arms.
"Sanji you did it! Just like the prophecy said you would!" She announced happily.
The beautiful new woman, who must have been the wooden raven once upon a time, chuckled. "My. Judging from Prince Zoro's expression, it wasn't the only correct prophecy."
Prophecy? Prince? Sanji didn't know what the hell they were talking about but he looked back to the Marimo in confusion.
"Wait... what's going on now? You were a toy-"
The blonde didn't get to finish his sentence, two lips that had been long neglected smashing into his own and drawing him in close. His heart was racing, his eye wide until finally his human Nutcracker pulled away to gasp and give him a sincere grin.
"Thanks, shit cook. You saved my life."
Author's Note: For day number 9 of the First Annual Zosan Christmas Exchange ! Theres story for each day of the month so be sure to go and read the others. This was number nine and it was beta'd by the totally not breastless, lovely MyLadyDay. I really hope you enjoyed~